The objective of Mancora was to have a spot in between Cuenca and Trujillo to split the long drive. This small town feels like Baños, Ecuador. A lot of activities are offered, but instead of mountainous/height-required sports, they offer water attractions. We picked Mancora because there should have been the perfect opportunity for my first surf lesson. I say should, because essentially there were no waves. So I didn’t surf. Sad face. Another time then. Even with the bad timing, we still enjoyed our leisurely stroll on the long beach and watched the sunset.
I can’t forget the mention that I almost cried here! I LOVE the food so much in comparison to Ecuador. Yes, I’m eating cheap, but the cheap food in Peru holds more flavor. For S.8 (soles or $2.4 USD) the restaurant served a side of juicy ceviche, scrumptious ‘chicharron de pescado’ (deep-fried pieces of fish), crunchy fries, and juice. This gets me excited for the rest of Peru. Please serve savory food the entire time. Don’t let me down.
Cost breakdown of Mancora in USD*:
• Housing: $14.88 (2 hostel nights which included breakfast)
• Transportation: $21.6 (initial transportation to the city)
• Food: $16.82
Daily Average Cost: $17.77
In Trujillo we got welcomed into my extended family’s beautiful home. The Lama family were amazing hosts, who made us feel welcome, helped us get around the city, and fed us. My wallet smiled at the free bed, but my favorite parts were looking over their shoulders as they cooked to steal their recipes and conversing with them in Spanish.
Their English is limited, so we mixed in our broken Spanish and I got to improve my language skills. We got to hear more about the Peruvian culture and compared notes between countries. The most baffling story we heard was a police car got stolen while the cop was voting in the governmental building! That wouldn’t end to well in the USA. Maybe this is one of the reason for the high volume of police force here.
Moving on to sightseeing…. At the outskirts of Trujillo, Chan Chan (sun sun) spanned 20 km2. With only a portion left, the ruins entail a fascinating story. The historical site contains a lack of signs, so If you aren’t an archeological genius, I would recommend a guide. Our guide spoke decent English, possessed a vast knowledge, and often replayed some key sentences like a broken audiobook. My favorite fact was the huge fresh water pond the Chimu’s had hidden at the center, which probably was the main reason why the Incas took such a long time to conquer them. From the main site we made our way to the Chan Chan museum, which unfortunately was closed for the next few days for some reason.
If you only have time for one site in Trujillo, over big Chan Chan, I would pick the colorful temple of the sun and the moon (huaca del sol y de la luna). This temple is considerably smaller than Chan Chan, but the restoration is better with many colorful murals. As I walked through the temple of the moon, the entry-fee-included guide spoke about the constant remodeling the society did every 50 years or so, to make the building bigger and more impressive. One could literally observe the increase due to the various layers the archeologists, and unfortunately the grave robbers/Spaniards have exposed. The colors/carvings on the walls are vivid and with a few explanations play an easy to follow story. Due to need of funding for archeologists, the temple of the sun is not open to the public.
Expect to do lots of walking in Trujillo. Compared to other towns we’ve visited, this city is vast. Oftentimes our hosts would drop us off at our point of interest, but from there we had to find our own way back. And we did it all. Walking for hours, riding a mini bus, or waving down a cab during times of weakness. Because of the temple of the sun and the moon, I would recommend you stop by this city and take on the commute challenge.
Cost breakdown of Mancora in USD*:
• Transportation: $16.52 (initial transportation to the city)
• Food: $5.95
• Activity: $11.31 (historical sites)
Daily Average Cost: $16.89